Dana White has abol­ished fines for using nation­al sym­bols, so now fight­ers from Rus­sia can fight under the flag of their home­land.

Sports have tra­di­tion­al­ly been con­sid­ered a place where pol­i­tics have no place, but this rule has long been bro­ken. First at the Olympic Games, where play­ers of the Russ­ian nation­al team were pro­hib­it­ed from per­form­ing under their own flag, and from 2022 the ban also affect­ed oth­er sport­ing events.

In par­tic­u­lar, he got to the UFC, where there have always tra­di­tion­al­ly been many cit­i­zens from Rus­sia. Dana White intro­duced a ban on the use of nation­al flags last year, but recent­ly decid­ed to lift it by a strong-willed deci­sion.

The ban on nation­al sym­bols often proved to be a demor­al­iz­ing fac­tor for fight­ers and show view­ers. The lack of sup­port, com­mu­ni­ty and belong­ing was hin­der­ing a great show, so at UFC 297 in Mex­i­co, Dana White said good­bye to an unpop­u­lar deci­sion. Accord­ing to him, this was influ­enced by the atmos­phere he felt while in the coun­try: “I was on vaca­tion dur­ing Mex­i­can Inde­pen­dence Day and the lack of a flag was dri­ving me crazy. So I thought, “Screw this! We’re bring­ing back the flags!”

This is not the most pop­u­lar deci­sion, giv­en the tense inter­na­tion­al sit­u­a­tion, but White already has an answer pre­pared: “Every­one has become too soft and vul­ner­a­ble. When the deci­sion was made to aban­don the flags, I thought: “What will hap­pen if they don’t have flags?” But Mex­i­can Inde­pen­dence Day was the trig­ger for me. I decid­ed: “We still need flags.” If any of them hurt your feel­ings, that’s too damn bad.

The deci­sion has already entered into force. So at the last tour­na­ment, Joe Pifer cel­e­brat­ed his vic­to­ry with the Stars and Stripes of the USA. And soon we will be able to see the Russ­ian tri­col­or in the UFC. On Octo­ber 14 (on the night of 14 to 15 Moscow time) Rus­sians Iri­na Alek­see­va and Daria Zheleznyako­va will per­form at the UFC Fight Night tour­na­ment.

How the pro­mo­tion’s audi­ence will react to this is still unclear, but Dana White has already giv­en a clear answer: fight­ers should have the right to com­pete under the flag of their own coun­try. And if this offends some­one, then the per­son should think about their vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty.